Govt urged to criminalise fibre cuts

The government has been urged to develop a legislation which will criminalise fibre cuts that deny consumers of data and internet services offered by the telecommunication companies in the country.

A member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, Sam George, who made the call during the celebration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), said legislation on fibre cuts would curb the menace and give the mobile network operators some financial respite.

He explained that fibre cuts, which was often caused through road construction and building construction, put huge financial burdens on the telecommunication companies and deny consumers of communication and internet services.

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications estimates that it cost the mobile network operators about $17,000 to restore a single fibre cut.

The programme organised by the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCoT)  under the theme, ‘Trust Smart products’ was aimed at educating traders, commuters and the general public in the safe use of mobile technologies, applications and services provided by mobile network operators.

It provided opportunity for the mobile network operators to highlight issues on mobile and digital security and also educate the public to avoid the purchase and use of fake phones as well as pre-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards and to report wayward merchants and persons who trade in such products to the law enforcement authorities.

The WCRD is organised March 15 every year to educate consumers on their rights and also protest against consumer abuse and manhandling.

Mr George in his remarks lauded the GCoT for organising the programme to sensitise consumers on their rights and also the opportunity to interact with the mobile network operators and seek solutions to challenges facing them in the use of mobile services.

The Chief Executive Officer of the GCoT, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey in his address underscored the symbiotic relationship between the consumers and the mobile operators and reiterated the relentless commitment of the industry to provide world-class telecommunications with consumers at the core of their operations.

“Consumers have rights and equally have responsibilities, and we will work with our customers to ensure they do not compromise on their security and data privacy as they gain access to new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and choice,” said Kenneth.

He advised consumers to desist from disclosing their Mobile Money PIN to their colleagues and also change their PIN every month.

“We… caution all Ghanaians to be vigilant and not discuss their wallet or financial details with anybody over a telephone call.  We should be quick to report fraudulent numbers to the toll free short code 419 for immediate resolution,” Mr Ashigbey said.

Mr Ashigbey also cautioned the general public to desist from purchasing pre-registered SIM cards, saying it “is fraudulent” and compromise subscribers of the mobile network operators.

By Kingsley Asare

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